A range of geared motors from Brazilian motor and controls manufacturer WEG will be available from the third quarter of 2020 to clients in South Africa and the rest of Africa from subsidiary Zest WEG.
Dubbed the WG20 range, the geared motors – with benefits such as efficiency and reliability – are considered to be a “natural extension” of the company’s offering in electric motors and will be distributed and supported through Zest WEG’s footprint across the continent.
The components for the geared motors are manufactured by gear technology specialist Watt Drive, in Austria, which is also part of the global WEG Group.
In conversation with Engineering News, Zest WEG geared motor specialist Cas de Jager notes that the geared motors from WEG are high-efficiency geared motors, manufactured according to a two-stage design and are also switchable to voltages globally.
He says a key advantage of the new addition is the efficient speed reducers, which “can achieve significant savings” in drive-component and energy-related costs.
“Only about 1.5% of mechanical efficiency is lost per gear stage, so a two-stage gear unit would be about 97% efficient,” De Jager notes, adding that the WEG geared motors are also reliable, robust and durable – making them economical to maintain.
The addition will enable the company to expand services in new markets, including those of recycling, and food and beverage, and, once established in these sectors, Zest WEG will look to further expand its presence into the timber industry, paper and pulp, and mining, he explains.
The company’s skilled employees and local stockholding of a full range of gears, flanges, housings, shafts, bearings, oil seals and other components is set to allow a quick turnaround time.
This local availability of parts, in turn, increases the range of various offerings that Zest WEG can provide for existing clients while creating an opportunity for the company to provide complete solutions for new clients.
Every application has a different requirement in terms of a geared motor’s specification, and this will be catered for with Zest WEG’s local assembly programme, which will be based in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Considering that every client’s specification differs, “it is almost impossible” to keep fully assembled geared motors in stock, making the local assembly programme that much more critical, De Jager notes.
The WG20 range comprises three series across twelve different sizes and various different ratios.
This puts the possible geared-motor combinations range into the thousands, Zest WEG national sales executive Johan van Niekerk comments, explaining that, besides the ratios, different mountings – such as inline, bevel or helical – need to be considered, bringing it to nearly 2 000 combinations per size.
This is why each application needs to be considered within its own requirements and specifications, he says.
The local assembly programme, meanwhile, was initially intended to start at the end of July but with South Africa’s having entered a national lockdown in response to Covid-19, the end of August or September seems more likely, De Jager laments.
Once the programme has been established, Zest WEG will likely branch out across South Africa “to improve on reaction time”, he adds.
A programme such as this requires a significant investment, including equipping new assembly facilities with hydraulic presses, workbenches and assembly tooling.
The investment is further underpinned by Zest WEG’s mission to continuously invest in engineering and other skills in South Africa.
Zest WEG is also a broad-based black economic-empowerment Level 1 contributor and is fully committed to develop local skills, as part of its core values.
“Our first priority is to follow these guidelines by eventually sending our assemblers overseas to our facilities in Austria for training. This can then be followed by local training from our overseas partners,” De Jager says.
“Our strategy is also to invest in the future by employing younger people and to train them in the various stages of production,” he adds.